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The Quarterly Canadian Restaurant Intelligence Report

Irving Oil Big Stops are winning big with customers across Atlantic Canada


Providing weary travellers on the road with home-cooked meals and memorable hospitality—it’s a familiar foodservice notion that can be much more difficult to achieve than it is to imagine. But, Irving Oil Big Stops bring this notion to life, day in and day out, at locations across Canada. Not only are Irving Oil Big Stops a favourite for tourists and transportation professionals alike, but they serve as community hubs for locals too. How does the Atlantic Canada restaurant brand stay so healthy?

Irving Oil was founded in 1924 and is an international refining and marketing company with a history of long-term partnerships and relationships. Its recent Newfoundland and Labrador investments will reach $50 million, including a brand new, $8 million Big Stop in Goobies. Irving Oil has been renovating and modernizing its assets while continuing to provide guests with the service, quality and affordability they have come to know from the Big Stop Restaurant brand. The existing Goobies Big Stop location has been taken down to make way for the new location featuring a larger convenience store, additional fuelling stations, enhanced food offerings and improved professional driver amenities.

“We’re going to continue to invest in Newfoundland and Labrador and make the investments necessary to continue as the retail destination of choice for the travelling public,” says Darren Gillis, General Manager, Sales and Marketing Operations. “We appreciate our valued customers, and we hope they enjoy the attention to detail our team puts into each location.” The original Goobies Big Stop opened in 1970 and has served customers for over 47 years. The Goobies Big Stop revival will include eight fuelling positions, three diesel fuelling lanes and a 115-seat restaurant.

The Big Stop Recipe for Success

  • Provide quality meals with good portions
  • Price menu items to be affordable
  • Foster a genuine family-friendly environment
  • Expect customer service to be the beating heart of each operation
  • Reinvent and modernize every so often
  • Invest in good people, good equipment and good food

As the franchisee of the Aulac Big Stop in New Brunswick where his team regularly serves hundreds of guests per day, Bill Allen—through his long-standing partnership with Irving Oil—has worked with the Big Stop brand team to design and build an efficient and modern commercial kitchen. His advice for all types of Canadian restaurateurs:

  • Foster and build longstanding relationships with equipment partners.
  • Invest in equipment that is energy-saving, designed to last and dependable.
  • Play the long game. Investing in robust quality equipment is better for your business and bottom line overall.
  • Consistency means guest satisfaction and a positive environment, which means happy staff and customer retention. Don’t underestimate the interconnected elements in your environment.
  • Reduce and rethink. Aim for less food waste when choosing new equipment. This will have a significant impact on your overall food costs if built into your system.
The Quarterly Canadian Restaurant Intelligence Report